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Increase the size of the Federal Parliament



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P R E S S R E L E A S E

Senator Tony Messner Senator for South Australia

98/100 ' 5 .

The fact that the proposals to increase the size of the Federal Parliament would not be put to the Australian, population for approval was to be deplored, it has been stated.

Senator Tony Messner (Lib SA) said that although five proposals would be put at a referenda in February, the increase in the number of Senators and Members would not be included.

"There is no requirement for such a course of action to be followed.

"As a result, because of the voting strength of the Labor Party and the National Party who both favour the proposal, the Parliament will be increased at the next election."

Senator Messner said that this was despite a recent opinion poll showing that 85% of A u s t r a l i a n s opposed the move.

"The proposal will result in an increase of 14 MP's in N S W and 2 each in SA and WA.

"Every State will gain an extra two Senators."

Senator Messner said that as a c o n s e q u e n c e of legislation currently before the Parliament, seven Senate vacancies would arise at the next Senate election. -

"This is instead of the five that would normally occur.

As a result the quota for elec t i o n to the Senate will only be 12.5%.

Senator Messner said that the changes would p e r p e t u a t e the bias to Labor apparent in the State in the House of .

Representatives.

"With 48% of the primary vote at the last election, the ALP gained 7 seats in the House of Representatives, while the Liberal Party only won 4 seats w i t h 41% of the vote.

"Labor's moves to cling to power are all the more contemptible because it has c l e v e r l y avoided the need for the approval of the electorate by not seeking a referendum to break the nexus between the Senate and the House of Representatives. It has chosen the. easy course by simply loading on to the taxpayers the cost of two extra unnecessary Senators in each State.

"In the Senate it gives Labor a better chance of winning the new Senate seats, thus enhancing their chance of getting control of it."

THE SENATE

ADELAIDE 2 3 NOVEMBER 198 3